Saturday, May 30, 2015

“The King’s Doctor” a.k.a “Horse Doctor” spoiler-free synopsis by episode

(Jump to A. Episode 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; 13; 14; 15; 16; 17; 18; 19; 20; 21; 22; 23; 24; 25; 26; 27; 28; 29; 30; 31; 32; 33; 34; 35; 36; 37; 38; 39; 40; 41; 42; 43; 44; 45; 46; 47; 48; 49; 50; B. How I made these recaps spoiler-free as much as possible; C. Links to Tagalog-dubbed videos of The King’s Doctor; D. Princess Sukhwi will steal your heart: her funniest, cutest, and heartbreaking scenes; E. Review: parallels between “The King’s Doctor” and other Koreanovelas; F. Photography lessons from “The King’s Doctor”

“The King’s Doctor” (a.k.a “Horse Doctor”) is a 2012 Koreanovela that has become a hit in Korea, Japan, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, and Indonesia. It will be aired on GMA7 in late June.

Leading the cast are Jo Seung-woo (“Baek Kwang-hyun”), Lee Yo-won (“Kang Ji-nyeong”), Son Chang-min (“Lee Myung-hwan”), Yoo Sun (“Jang In-joo”), Lee Sang-woo (“Lee Sung-ha”), Han Sang-jin (“King Hyeonjong”), and Kim So-eun (“Princess Sukhwi”). Jo Seung-woo won the Top Excellence Award in the MBC Drama Awards and the Grand Prize in Daesang. In the MBC Drama Awards, Lee Sang-woo won the Excellence Award while Kim So-eun won as Best New Actress.

How I made these recaps spoiler-free as much as possible

1. I assumed that you will be reading these recaps and watching the videos chronologically or the TV broadcasts as they are aired.

2. I narrated the main actions in each episode without revealing the plot’s twists and turns.

3. I used the following structure for the recaps:

In the recap for Episode 1, for example, I didn’t write anything about how and why the friendship among Kang Dojun, Myung-hwan, and Inju ended. But in the recap for Episode 2, I placed in a table at the beginning how and why that friendship ended. But because you have already watched the video of Episode 1 or its corresponding TV broadcast, these things (how and why that friendship ended) are no longer spoilers.

Another example, in the recap for Episode 14, I wrote that Myung-hwan’s men kidnapped Kwang-hyun, but I didn’t reveal what exactly they did to him. In the recap for Episode 15, in the table that begins the recap, I wrote exactly what Myung-hwan’s men did to Kwang-hyun. But because you have already watched the video for Episode 14 or its corresponding TV broadcast, it isn’t a spoiler anymore.

Episode 1

Kang Dojun belongs to an aristocratic and prominent clan from which several members have been appointed as ministers in the Royal Court. But instead of preparing himself to become a minister, he is studying medicine because he wants to help the commoners of Joseon.

While visiting a horse ranch, Kang Dojun is saved from a runaway horse charging towards him by Myung-hwan, a horse doctor. Later on in the medical school, he becomes great friends with Myung-hwan (who has been adopted into a noble family) and nurse Inju. Together, they sneak several times into the hospital library to read rare medical books.

One of the commoners whom Kang Dojun helps is Seokgu, a slave who witnessed a murder committed by a doctor using an acupuncture needle. Seokgu himself was about to be killed by the doctor, but he managed to escape. Kang Dojun meets Seokgu and his pregnant wife by chance and helps them escape. He also delivers their baby.

As the episode ends, Inju tries to protect Kang Dojun’s newly-born child.

Note (funny scene): Kang Dojun and Myung-hwan first meet in the library and introduce themselves to each other.

Episode 2

In Episode 1, Myung-hwan was forced to testify against Kang Dojun’s “treasonous intent” against the Crown Prince. Kang Dojun is executed, with his assets confiscated by the court and his family threatened with death or slavery.
The soldiers race toward Kang Dojun’s house to kill his newly-born child if it’s a boy. But the soldiers find out that the child is a girl, and so they take the child into slavery in a government office.

Inju finds out that Seokgu, out of gratitude, had switched his baby girl with Kang Dojun’s son. Seokgu, himself framed for treason, decides to raise the child as his own. Inju tells Seokgu to name the child “Kwang-hyun” as Kang Dojun wanted.

Inju leaves the hospital, unable to accept how Myung-hwan betrayed Kang Dojun.

Twelve years later …

Kwang-hyun has grown up as a headstrong boy who constantly tries to escape from the boredom of the island where Seokgu has raised him. He wants go to the capital and experience its excitements. He refuses to listen to Seokgu’s pleas for him to study the Chinese characters and to learn all he can about medicine.

With help from his phony teacher, Kwang-hyun escapes from the island and goes to the capital. But he loses his pack and his teacher’s possessions to a gang of street children led by Yongdal.

Myung-hwan meanwhile has risen to become a high-ranking and well-respected official in the Royal Pharmacy. His students are touched by his personal interest in them. Even the King listens to him. But Myung-hwan’s world seems about to collapse on him when the King says that he wants to investigate the Crown Prince’s death 20 years ago. The doctor who used him to frame Kang Dojun also threatens to turn against him.

Myung-hwan orders his men to kidnap the doctor and bring him to their mountain hideout. But unknown to him and his men, Kwang-hyun and Yongdal are in the hideout witnessing everything that was happening.

Episode 3

In Episode 2, a flashback reveals that Myung-hwan was also forced to take part in killing the Crown Prince through the use of heated acupuncture needles.
Myung-hwan’s men chase after Kwang-hyun and Yongdal who escape by jumping into the river. Yongdal doesn’t know how to swim and nearly drowns. As Kwang-hyun gives Yongdal mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, he finds out that Yongdal is a girl.

After Kwang-hyun and Seokgu are reunited in the capital, they plan to relocate to another island. But Seokgu changes his mind when he learns that the King has pardoned Kang Dojun and restored his family’s status and wealth. He begins thinking that this is Kwang-hyun’s opportunity to reclaim his noble status.

When Yongdal gets captured by Myung-hwan’s men, Kwang-hyun and her friends rescue her. As Kwang-hyun and Yongdal escape, they are cornered by one of Myung-hwan’s men.

Seokgu, Kwang-hyun, and Yongdal are then chased by soldiers. Seokgu gets hit in the chest with an arrow, and they hide in a cave. Kwang-hyun and Yongdal decide to look for a doctor. But the doctor betrays them and Yongdal gets captured by the soldiers.

Note (touching scene): Seokgu has not forgotten his baby girl whom he sacrificed to save Kwang-hyun. He secretly visits the government office where his baby was taken into slavery.

Episode 4

At the end of Episode 3, Myung-hwan finds out that Yongdal is actually Kang Dojun’s missing heir. Yongdal had escaped from the government agency where she was taken into slavery twelve years ago. She then began posing as a boy because there were wanted posters against her.
Kwang-hyun finds his father dead inside the cave. His father had written on the ground with his own blood the name “Kang Dojun.” Kwang-hyun covers his father’s body with leaves and promises to come back.

With the soldiers still after Kwang-hyun, he gets cornered on a cliff. He gets hit by an arrow fired by one of Myung-hwan’s men. He topples over the cliff and into the river below. The soldiers report back that he is dead.

Overnight, Yongdal’s fortunes change; she is now a noble and the only heir to immense wealth. To safeguard her assets, Myung-hwan is appointed as her guardian, and he takes her to her new home. But Yongdal continues to grieve over Kwang-hyun’s death, refusing to throw away the sandal that Kwang-hyun gave her.

Kwang-hyun survives, however, and becomes a slave in a horse ranch. Horse doctor Kibae and his younger brother Jabong befriend Kwang-hyun and take him under their wings. He also meets in the mountain a mysterious doctor who dissects dead animals.

One day, the ranch holds a fair for people interested in buying its horses. Among those who come to the ranch are Myung-hwan, his son Sungha, and Yongdal (now called Jinyung). During the fair, Jinyung hears someone in the crowd shout out the name “Kwang-hyun.”

Episode 5

In Episode 4, Sungha (Myung-hwan’s son) gets kicked in the chest by Kwang-hyun’s runaway horse. He is treated by Inju (Kang Dojun and Myung-hwan’s friend).

Inju has learned that Kang Dojun’s status has been restored. She is now searching for Kang Dojun’s real heir.
Myung-hwan’s guard slashes with his sword the horse that kicked Sungha and then threatens all the people involved. Kwang-hyun escapes with the wounded horse up to the mountain where he pleads with the mysterious doctor to save the horse. The doctor reluctantly agrees and asks Kwang-hyun to help. Later on, Kwang-hyun returns triumphantly to the ranch with the now-healthy horse.

As a result of this incident, Kwang-hyun becomes fascinated with acupuncture and begins studying it. Yongdal (Jinyung) has also become fascinated with acupuncture after having watched Inju treat Sungha.

Eight years later, Kwang-hyun has become an excellent horse doctor, while Jinyung has finished studying medicine in Qing.

Kwang-hyun and Jabong are in the capital to buy medicines for the horse brought to the ranch from the royal stables. (The horse is meant to be the King’s gift to the Qing Emperor.) At the same time, Jinyung and her friend Princess Sukhwi are wandering incognito around the cosmopolitan area of the capital. They curiously enter a geisha house and promptly get accosted by some drunken men.

Episode 6

Kwang-hyun rescues Jinyung and Princess Sukhwi from the drunken men. A brawl takes place, and Kwang-hyun, Jabong, Jinyung, and Princess Sukhwi escape from the geisha bar, with the drunken men pursuing them.

After eluding their pursuers, Kwang-hyun scolds Jinyung and Princess Sukhwi, not knowing who they really are. When Princess Sukhwi reveals who she really is, Kwang-hyun and Jabong mock and laugh at her.

Later on, Princess Sukhwi orders Kwang-hyung and Jabong arrested and brought to the palace. Kwang-hyung and Jabong beg for mercy. Princess Sukhwi says that she’ll forgive them if Kwang-hyung is able to successfully treat her precious cat Dolly.

Meanwhile, Jinyung applies as a nurse at the people’s hospital but gets rejected by Inju.

As the episode ends, the royal horse gets sicker and is brought back to the royal stables. A blame game ensues between the royal vets and the ranch doctors led by Kibae. Consequently, Myung-hwan threatens them all.

Episode 7

Kwang-hyung puts his life on the line after Kibae is thrown into jail. He guarantees to Myung-hwan that he can heal the sick horse and get it healthy by the time the Qing envoys arrive.

Kwang-hyung uses a dangerous acupuncture technique to treat the horse. But the royal vets sabotage his efforts, and he is thrown into jail.

Meanwhile, Jinyung persists in becoming a nurse at the people’s hospital. Inju reluctantly accepts her but sends her instead to the royal stables.

At the end of the episode, the Qing envoys arrive at the palace and demand to see the horse.

Episode 8

Kwang-hyun is appointed as an apprentice vet in the royal stables. But the other apprentices resent him because he didn’t go through the entrance exam.

At the stables, Kwang-hyun meets Jinyung; he still thinks she’s a commoner like him. While he is ecstatic working with all kinds of animals, Jinyung suffers all kinds of embarrassments. She’s also boisterously teased by the apprentices who don’t know about her noble status. But she proves her worth as a nurse later on.

Princess Sukhwi, who has become infatuated with Kwang-hyun, visits him in the stables on the pretext that her cat is sick again.

At the end of the episode, all the royal vets and the apprentices are sent to Icheon village to deal with a plague that threatens to kill thousands of cattle.

Note (funny scene): Princess Sukhwi sees Jinyung in the stables, but Jinyung tries to hide.

Episode 9

The plague begins affecting people with smallpox-like symptoms. Doctors and nurses led by Dr. Ko are ordered by the King to help stop the plague from spreading. Kibae, Jabong, and other people with skills in dealing with animals are also conscripted to help.

When Sungha, Myung-hwan’s son, finds out that Jinyung is in the plague-stricken village, he rushes there to get Jinyung out.

Kwang-hyun is not convinced about the cause of the disease. With Jinyung’s help, he dissects some of the dead cattle. He thinks that some kind of poison is making the cattle and people sick. He shares his findings with Dr. Ko who believes him and orders a change in the medication. Dr. Ko also orders everyone to start checking the food and water for the source of the poison.

Kwang-hyun and the soldiers fail to discover the poison’s source. Everyone, except Dr. Ko and Jinyung, starts doubting Kwang-hyun’s theory about poison being the cause of the disease.

As Sungha enters the village, he sees Jinyung collapsing into Kwang-hyun’s arms. Jinyung herself has become sick.

Episode 10

Myung-hwan arrives at the village and takes over from Dr. Ko. He becomes alarmed when he finds out that Jinyung herself has become sick and that his son Sungha is also in the village.

But Kwang-hyun finally discovers the poison’s source. Jinyung volunteers to test the new medication on herself. Soon after, she gets well.

The crisis is ended, and things settle down. Jinyung recuperates, and Sungha takes the civil service exams. The King asks Dr. Ko to become the new Chief of Physicians. Kwang-hyun is welcomed back by Princess Sukhwi.

Later on, Princess Sukhwi manipulates things so that she can spend time alone with Kwang-hyun in Jinyung’s residence.

Note (funny scenes): Jabong tries to avoid getting sick; Princess Sukhwi rushes to embrace Kwang-hyun as he returns to the palace.

Episode 11

Princess Sukhwi can’t believe that she actually kissed Kwang-hyun. Her attendant asks her to stay away from Kwang-hyun and forget all about him.

Kwang-hyun and three other apprentice vets are ordered to go to an island to treat some cattle. While in the island, one of the apprentices becomes sick. But the doctor isn’t on the island and the boat going back to the capital will be available only after two hours. Thinking that the apprentice might die, Kwang-hyun uses acupuncture to treat him. The apprentice starts breathing normally again but doesn’t regain consciousness.

Back in the capital, Kwang-hyun explains to Dr. Ko what he did. Dr. Ko sympathizes with him, but Kwang-hyun gets kicked out of the royal stables. Myung-hwan also finds out about what he did.

Kwang-hyun meets Jinyung at the Seafood Palace where Sungha and his friends are celebrating his passing the civil service exam. As the episode ends, soldiers arrive to arrest Kwang-hyun.

Episode 12

Myung-hwan orchestrates Kwang-hyun’s arrest and punishment. Despite Jinyung’s attempts to free Kwang-hyun, he is flogged 30 times.

Kwang-hyun survives, and Inju and Jinyung nurse him back to health. Princess Sukhwi also visits him.

With the King’s help, Dr. Ko institutes several reforms including opening the entrance exams for new doctors to anyone regardless of class. Dr. Ko asks Kwang-hyun to take the exams and lends him the books that he needs to read.

Episode 13

For the next four weeks, Jinyung helps Kwang-hyun study for the exams. But Kwang-hyun faces all kinds of opposition from Myung-hwan, the other medical officers, and the applicants coming from the noble families. The only friend Kwang-hyun makes is middle-class Daebang, son of the Seafood Palace’s owner.

When the exam questions are revealed, Kwang-hyun stares at them for a long time. He is also one of the last to finish the exam.

Note (funny scene): The Queen Mother catches Princess Sukhwi trying to learn how to cook eggs.

Episode 14

In Episode 13, Inju overhears from Jinyung’s conversation with Sungha that Jinyung’s childhood friend and the horse doctor have the same name, “Baek Kwang-hyun.”
Jinyung and Inju are amazed with Kwang-hyun’s dexterity with acupuncture; he has never used an acupuncture dummy before and has studied human anatomy for only a month.

Later on, Jinyung teaches Kwang-hyun the grading system for the acupuncture exam (red dots get the highest points).

Meanwhile, Inju takes time off from her duties to confirm if Kwang-hyun is really Kang Dojun’s son whom she has been looking for all these years.

The day before the exam, Princess Sukhwi summons Kwang-hyun to the palace. She wants to give Kwang-yun a special lucky charm that will ensure that he passes the exam.

On his way home from the palace, Kwang-hyun gets kidnapped by Myung-hwan’s men. Later on, Kibae finds Kwang-hyun bleeding and lying unconscious on the street. Kibae takes him to a doctor, but the doctor says that with Kwang-hyun’s injury, he will not be able to take the exam the next day.

Note (funniest scene so far in this drama): Princess Sukhwi gives Kwang-hyun a special lucky charm.

Episode 15

Just as the gong is about to be sounded to signal the end of the time limit for the exam, Kwang-hyun sticks the last needle into the red spot.

When Dr. Ko and the other doctors find out about Kwang-hyun’s broken and bloody forearm, they rush him to the clinic. Dr. Ko treats Kwang-hyun’s injury, while Jinyung (with Princess Sukhwi’s help) goes to find the right medicinal herbs.

After Kwang-hyun gets well, he pays a visit to the cave where his father Seokgu died. He promises to be a good doctor.

Meanwhile, Princess Sukhwi makes up all kinds of excuses so that the Queen Mother and the Queen can’t go through with the marriage they’re planning for her.

On the first day of Kwang-hyun’s class, his teacher marches him and the other students into the clinic to diagnose patients. The teacher singles out Kwang-hyun’s diagnostic report.

Sungha is appointed by the King to become the hospital administrator. When Kwang-hyun’s teacher hears about it, he uses Kwang-hyun to carry his gifts for Sungha.

Later on, one of Sungha’s friends, Dusik, asks Kwang-hyun to examine his sister Eun-so in secret. Dusik recoils in disgust when Kwang-hyun tells him that he used to be a horse doctor. Just then, a scream comes from Eun-so’s room.

Note (romantic scene): Kwang-hyun uses a monkey in the royal stables to bring flowers to Jinyung.

Episode 16

Eun-so has attempted to kill herself by asphyxiation. Dusik threatens to kill Kwang-hyun if he doesn’t treat Eun-so. Kwang-hyun asks Dusik to get some medicinal herbs and to inform Jinyung about the situation.

When Dusik comes back, he is shocked by what Kwang-hyun is doing to Eun-so. When Jinyung arrives, she takes over from Kwang-hyun, and they manage to revive Eun-so.

Later on, Eun-so tries again to kill herself by slashing her wrist. Kwang-hyun stops her and treats her wounds. He encourages Eun-so not to lose hope.

Meanwhile, Myung-hwan arranges Sungha and Jinyung’s marriage. Jinyung is shocked when she learns about it because she has never thought of Sungha in romantic terms.

Inju continues to investigate Kwang-hyun’s background, this time by questioning Kibae.

Meanwhile, Princess Sukhwi tries to get sick so she can have an excuse to see Kwang-hyun. She does get sick, and she goes to see Kwang-hyun at the clinic. But Kwang-hyun isn’t there. Just then, Eun-so arrives also looking for Kwang-hyun.

Kwang-hyun fails to diagnose a patient correctly, and Yuntae (the class topnotcher) rushes the man to the clinic for treatment. The doctor on duty agrees with Yuntae that the man is suffering from brain hemorrhage. Later on, the doctor pronounces the man dead, and the body is brought to the morgue.

Kwang-hyun becomes discouraged when Yuntae tells him that he is incompetent, but Jinyung encourages him to simply study harder.

While studying for the herbal medicine exam the next day, Kwang-hyun is tricked by two of his classmates who lock him inside the morgue. While trying to get out of the morgue, Kwang-hyun chances upon the body of the man he failed to diagnose properly.

Episode 17

In Episode 16, Kwang-hyun finds out that the man in the morgue is still alive. Unable to get out of the morgue to call a doctor to help, he decides to acupuncture the man based on what he remembers from what Yuntae said.

When Jinyung finds out that Kwang-hyun missed the exam, she starts looking for him with Daebang. They find Kwang-hyun inside the morgue, slumped near a body lying on a table. They’re shocked to find out the man is still alive.
The news spreads like wildfire that Kwang-hyun has raised someone from the dead. Even the King hears about it. Kwang-hyun is allowed to take the exam he missed.

Jinyung visits Eun-so and tells her what Kwang-hyun found out when he saved her the first time around. Relieved that her secret is now out, Eun-so goes to thank Kwang-hyun.

Meanwhile, Kibae tells Kwang-hyun that his beloved horse from the ranch has been brought to the royal stables.

Sungha reminds Kwang-hyun that he is a commoner and Jinyung is a noble. He tells Kwang-hyun not to meet Jinyung outside of the clinic.

For the next practical exam, the students will pass the exam if their diagnosis matches the official diagnosis previously done by the royal doctors. Kwang-hyun is paired with Yuntae, and they go to meet their patient.

Episode 18

At the end of Episode 17, Kwang-hyun and Taeju discover that their patient is the King himself. They take turns in diagnosing the King. They are also allowed to observe the King’s daily activities.

Kwang-hyun’s teacher offers to Myung-hwan a plan that will make Kwang-hyun fail the exam. Myung-hwan continues to plot against Dr. Ko.

Later on, Taeju’s diagnosis matches exactly that of the official diagnosis. Kwang-hyun, on the other hand, is accused of cheating by stealing a copy of the official diagnosis.

Note (funny scene): Princess Sukhwi to her dismay gets assigned to Daebang and the bully who locked Kwang-hyun inside the morgue. She takes revenge against the bully.

Episode 19

At the end of Episode 18,
Kwang-hyun’s teacher tries to frame him by planting a copy of the official diagnosis among his things.

Myung-whan accuses Kwang-hyun of stealing the official diagnosis and demands to see Kwang-hyun’s report. But the report turns out to be completely blank. Kwang-hyun shocks everyone by saying that the King is suffering from gallstones, a sickness that he has seen before in cows and pigs.
The medical council wants Kwang-hyun kicked out. The hospital is thrown into chaos, with the students refusing to attend their classes and the doctors walking out of their duties. Dr. Ko and the loyal nurses are overwhelmed by the number of patients they have to attend to. But Dr. Ko remains steadfast in defending Kwang-hyun.

Feeling guilty about the whole mess, Kwang-hyun tells Myung-hwan that he will resign from the medical school.

As the ministers are demanding that the King dismiss Dr. Ko from his position, the King collapses. Dr. Ko realizes that Kwang-hyun’s diagnosis is correct and asks him to teach him about gallstones. Together, they make the medication for the King, despite Myung-hwan’s objections.

When the King doesn’t get well, the Queen Mother orders that Dr. Ko be forcibly removed and that Myung-hwan should take over in treating the King.

Episode 20

At the end of Episode 19, Kwang-hyun notices that the King’s stool has turned in color from gray to green, indicating that the King is getting well. The Queen Mother becomes confused with the contradictory views of Dr. Ko and Kwang-hyun on one side and Myung-hwan and the ministers on the other side.
The Queen Mother decides to let Myung-hwan take over the King’s treatment, despite Princess Sukhwi and Jinyung’s pleas. Just then, they get the news that the King’s condition has started to improve.

Kwang-hyun is reinstated as a student, and Dr. Ko continues to treat the King.

Myung-hwan hatches another devious plan to bring about Dr. Ko’s downfall.

Note (cute scene): As the King is being examined in the presence of the Queen Mother and the Queen, Princess Sukhwi slides up close to Kwang-hyun.

Episode 21

In Episode 20, Myung-hwan plots to poison Dr. Ko so that he will miss the appointed time for the King’s acupuncture treatment. But Kwang-hyun finds Dr. Ko and uses acupuncture to stop the poison from spreading. Dr. Ko is able to get to the palace just in time.

Myung-hwan resigns from his position.
Dr. Ko recovers from the poisoning incident and then continues to implement his reforms. He tells the student doctors about using acupuncture to treat boils, a common problem among Joseon’s population. Jinyung receives permission to study alongside Kwang-hyun and the other students.

Princess Sukhwi uses the lantern festival as an excuse to leave the palace. She wants to finally tell Kwang-hyun that she loves him. She asks Jinyung to help her carry out her plan. But her plans are derailed, and she has to rush back to the palace.

Kwang-hyun and Jinyung spend time together. Walking along the street after the rain has stopped, Kwang-hyun does something that reminds Jinyung of a similar thing that happened eight years ago.

Finding out that Jinyung has been with Kwang-hyun, Myung-hwan scolds her and says that she has to marry Sungha immediately. Later on, Myung-hwan tells the King about Jinyung and Sungha’s upcoming marriage.

At the end of the episode, Inju tells Kwang-hyun that she has an important thing to tell him.

Episode 22

In Episode 21, Inju has finally confirmed that Kwang-hyun is Kang Dojun’s child and heir.
But Inju hesitates in telling Kwang-hyun about his real identity because she fears the consequences for Jinyung.

Myung-hwan’s plan for Jinyung and Sungha’s marriage seems to be going well with gifts coming from everyone, including Lord Jung. But Sungha doesn’t want to force Jinyung into marrying him.

The student doctors and nurses begin practicing making surgical incisions using tofu placed on top of a pig’s bladder.

Dr. Ko begins feeling sick again, but he still asks Kwang-hyun to teach him about treating boils in animals.

Jinyung tells Myung-hwan that she isn’t ready to get married yet. When Myung-hwan asks her if she is in love with Kwang-hyun, she doesn’t answer. Fearing that his plan for taking full control of Jinyung’s inheritance is in peril, Myung-hwan decides to get rid of Kwang-hyun once and for all.

Episode 23

In Episode 22, Inju reveals to Dr. Ko that Kwang-hyun is Kang Dojun’s son and heir.

Myung-hwan entraps Kwang-hyun and Eun-so by using forged letters and makes it appear that they are involved in an immoral act. Kwang-hyun and Eun-so are arrested and put into jail. Myung-hwan later on arranges to have Eun-so set free but demands that Kwang-hyun be given the death penalty.
Eun-so is forced by her father-in-law, Lord Jung, to deny any involvement with Kwang-hyun. Dusik also pleads with Kwang-hyun to protect Eun-so’s reputation.

Despite being tortured, Kwang-hyun denies any wrongdoing.

As Jinyung tries to plead with Dusik to ask Eun-so to help, Eun-so collapses in pain. Out of guilt, Eun-so’s slave finally reveals the truth. Dusik races to the tribunal to stop the interrogation, and Kwang-hyun is released temporarily.

Jinyung tells Dr. Ko about Eun-so’s sickness that Kwanghyun found out about when he first saved her life. Dr. Ko decides that Eun-so needs surgery, but this causes an uproar among the Confucian scholars. The scholars petition the King to stop Dr. Ko, but the King decides to allow the operation.

Episode 24

In Episode 23, Dr. Ko asks Kwang-hyun to perform the operation on Eun-so because he has the most experience in surgery. The operation is a success.

Inju gives Kwang-hyun the acupuncture set that belonged to Kang Dojun and asks him what Jinyung means to him.
Inju finally reveals to Kwang-hyun that he is Kang Dojun’s son and heir. But Kwang-hyun refuses to believe her.

Meanwhile, Eun-so tells Jinyung that someday, she will have to choose between Kwang-hyun and Myung-hwan.

Kwang-hyung decides to investigate what Inju told him. He asks Dusik for help in looking for some official documents.

Dr. Ko decides to take some time off from his duties because of his severe headaches.

Meanwhile, Myung-hwan is reinstated through the Queen Mother’s help. Together with Lord Jung, he begins planning again Dr. Ko’s downfall.

Note (cute scene): Princess Sukhwi tries to find out how Eun-so really feels towards Kwang-hyun.

Episode 25

In Episode 24, Kwang-hyun confirms that he is indeed Kang Dojun’s son and heir. He also learns from Inju how Myung-hwan framed Kang Dojun and Seokgu. But he doesn’t want to destroy Jinyung’s life.

Dr. Ko collapses and is in a critical condition.
Kwang-hyun rushes Dr. Ko to the hospital. Dr. Ko is suffering from an abscess in his skull that’s affecting his bone marrow. Both Injun and Jinyung tell Kwang-hyun that Dr. Ko might not survive because the poison has worsened his condition.

But Kwang-hyun refuses to give up; he finds Dr. Ko’s notes and thinks that they hold the answer. Just then, he learns that Myung-hwan has been appointed to treat Dr. Ko. He confronts Myung-hwan and harshly tells him not to do anything that will harm Dr. Ko.

Kwang-hyun later on suggests to the medical council that Dr. Ko must be operated on. But the doctors are outraged by his plan to cut open Dr. Ko’s head.

When Myung-hwan finally admits that he can’t do anything for Dr. Ko, the King allows Kwang-hyun to perform the dangerous operation. But the King imposes the condition that if Dr. Ko dies, Kwang-hyun must pay with his life.

As the operation begins, Kwang-hyun realizes that Dr. Ko’s condition has become much worse.

Note (cute scene): Princess Sukhwi begins to think that it might be Jinyung whom Kwang-hyun is in love with.

Episode 26

In Episode 25, Eun-so tells Jinyung that Myung-hwan poisoned Dr. Ko and also framed her and Kwang-hyun.
Kwang-hyun decides to drill into Dr. Ko’s head as suggested by Jinyung. The operation is successful, but Lord Jung tells Myung-hwan that Dr. Ko could still die …

When Myung-hwan visits him, Dr. Ko reminds Myung-hwan of his early days as a medical student with Kang Dojun.

Inju gives Kwang-hyun the box of documents and seals that Kang Dojun entrusted to her 20 years ago. These things will prove that Kwang-hyun is Kang Dojun’s heir. Meeting Jinyung afterwards, Kwang-hyun decides not to tell her the truth but instead asks her if she’s willing to run away with him.

Later on, Jinyung goes back to the royal stables to return the drill used in Dr. Ko’s operation. While there, she learns the name of Kwang-hyun’s favorite horse.

As the episode ends, Kwang-hyun is kidnapped by Myung-whan’s men.

Episode 27

In Episode 26, Myung-hwan finds out that Kang Dojun’s real heir is Kwang-hyun, not Jinyung.

Jinyung learns that Kwang-hyun’s favorite horse is named “Yongdal,” the name she used eight years ago when she was living on the streets. She begins thinking that her childhood friend and the apprentice doctor are one and the same person.
Despite being slashed in the arm by a sword, Kwang-hyun escapes from Myung-hwan’s men into the mountain. Later on, Jinyung finds him unconscious and takes him to the hospital.

Meanwhile, Myung-hwan reveals to Sungha that Kwang-hyun is Kang Dojun’s real heir, not Jinyung. Despite Sungha’s pleas, Jinyung packs up and leaves the house. She goes to the bridge where she and Kwang-hyun first met eight years ago.

Dr. Ko goes to the palace to meet the king, but while there, he collapses and has to be rushed back to the hospital.

Note (heartbreaking scene): Princess Sukhwi finds out that Kwang-hyun and Jinyung are in love with each other.

Episode 28

In Episode 27, Jinyung confirms that Kwang-hyun is actually her childhood friend. Kwang-hyun also finds out that Jinyung is actually Yongdal whom he met years ago. They have a tearful reunion at the bridge.

Princess Sukhwi finds out that Kwang-hyun and Jinyung are in love with each other.
Kwang-hyun blames himself for Dr. Ko’s death, even as Inju tries to comfort him with Dr. Ko’s last words for him. Later on, they are both arrested for Dr. Ko’s death.

Myung-hwan promises Jinyung that he will save Kwang-hyun. Jinyung is assured by Sungha that he’ll see to it that Myung-hwan keeps his promise.

In order to save Kwang-hyun, Inju gives in to Myung-hwan’s demands. Myung-hwan then tells the King that Kwang-hyun is not responsible for Dr. Ko’s death. But the King still banishes Kwang-hyun.

Jinyung, Kibae, Jabong, and Princess Sukhwi join in a plan to rescue Kwang-hyun. As the episode ends, Kwang-hyun finds himself on the river with just a guard and the boatman.

Note (heartbreaking scene): Princess Sukhwi says goodbye to Kwang-hyun.

Episode 29

In Episode 28, the plan to save Kwang-hyun goes all wrong because Myung-hwan never really intended to save him.
Everyone begins thinking that Kwang-hyun drowned in the river during the thunderstorm.

Four months later …

Myung-hwan has taken over at the hospital and begins overturning Dr. Ko’s reforms. He focuses on making money instead of serving people. After the new hospital building is finished, Jinyung and Inju decide to continue Dr. Ko’s vision. Jinyung decides to go to Qing to contact suppliers of medicinal herbs.

Unknown to all, Kwang-hyun survived the thunderstorm and the boatman’s attempt on his life. Based on Dr. Ko’s letter, he begins searching for a famous doctor. Kwang-hyun finds the doctor (and his apprentice Kayong), but the doctor refuses to take him in as a student.

As the episode ends, Kwang-hyun and Jinyung are on the same dock, with Kwang-hyun still pleading for the doctor (who’s leaving for Qing) to be his mentor.

Episode 30

In Episode 29, Kwang-hyun finds out that the famous doctor Dr. Ko wanted him to find is the same doctor who treated him and his horse Yongdal years ago.
Three years later, under Dr. Saam’s training, Kwang-hyun has become a highly-skilled surgeon.

Meanwhile, back in Joseon, Myung-hwan further gains the royal family’s favor. Jinyung, on the other hand, has set up a secret pharmacy that works against Myung-hwan’s hospital by providing low-priced medicinal herbs to Joseon’s commoners.

After an incident in Kayong’s favorite dumpling place, Dr. Saam is requested by the Deputy Governor General to treat his daughter who’s suffering from a mysterious illness. His daughter’s husband has refused to let her be seen by anyone after several doctors failed to diagnose and treat her.

Kwang-hyun, Dr. Saam, and Kayong sneak into the house to look at the woman’s condition. They are shocked to see a massive lump growing on her body’s left side.

Episode 31

In Episode 30, the massive lump in the body of the governor’s daughter turns out to be an abnormal pregnancy. Kwang-hyun cuts her open to safely deliver the baby.

Kwang-hyun finds out that Myung-hwan and a medical entourage from Joseon will be arriving in the Qing capital.
The Qing royal court posts announcements across the capital for all doctors who can find the cure for the Empress to come forward. Dr. Saam encourages Kwang-hyun that if he successfully treats the Empress, it could be his way of returning to Joseon.

Myung-hwan and the Joseon medical entourage arrive at the capital. Part of the entourage are Jinyung, Sungha, and Dusik. Because of his stature, Myung-hwan is immediately allowed to examine the Empress. He finds out that the Empress has a gross sore on her back and is suffering from the same bone marrow disease that led to Dr. Ko’s death.

All the doctors who responded to the call, including Kwang-hyun, are assigned patients suffering from the same symptoms as the Empress. Kwang-hyun hesitates when he finds out that he’s dealing with the same disease as that of Dr. Ko, but Dr. Saam tells him to confront his fears. Reassured, Kwang-hyun convinces his patient to undergo surgery, telling him that tetanus can be avoided.

Myung-hwan is unsure of how to treat the Empress, and so he tries various treatments first on another patient. Jinyung goes to the capital’s marketplace to look for medical books that might contain the information for treating the Empress. At that same time, Kwang-hyun is also at the marketplace.

Meanwhile, in Joseon, Princess Sukhwi happens to read Dusik’s letter to Eun-soo. She hastily confronts Eun-soo.

Worrying that other doctors might find a cure before he does, Myung-hwan orders his bodyguard Kang to see what the other doctors are working on. Kang hears about a “Joseon doctor,” and he goes to the clinic where Kwang-hyun is treating his patient.


1. Funny scene: Princess Sukhwi has been enjoying her freedom in living outside the palace. But then the King orders her to return to the palace. She says, “I’m going back to prison.”

2. Cute scene: Kayong meets Sungha in a bookshop and swoons over this “Joseon hottie.”

Episode 32

In Episode 31, Princess Sukhwi finds out that Eun-soo thinks that Kwang-hyun is alive and that Dusik is searching for him in Qing.
Kwang-hyun’s patient begins to suffer from tetanus, and he decides to operate on the patient again.

Based on Jinyung’s suggestion, Myung-hwan tries a different way of treating his patient.

Kwang-hyun’s patient shows greater progress than Myung-hwan’s patient. But Qing’s Head of Medicine thinks that surgery might be too radical for the Empress and that tetanus could be a problem. He decides to allow Myung-hwan to treat the Empress, to the delight of the whole Joseon entourage.

Despite not having been chosen, Kwang-hyun continues to treat his patient. From Kayong, he learns that Jinyung is part of the Joseon entourage, and he rushes to the port to see Jinyung.

Note (funny scenes): The King goes incognito in the Joseon capital to find out about his people’s lives. He meets and eats with Jabong in the Seafood Palace.

Kayong meets Daebang, Taeju, and instructor Dr. Kwon. She horrifies them with the way she casually talks to them; she calls them the “three dorks.” But her speech and mannerism change when she meets Sungha again.

Episode 33

In Episode 32, Kwang-hyun fails to see Jinyung at the port. Going back to the clinic, he is taken away by the palace guards.
Myung-hwan apparently failed to cure the Empress, and the Emperor allows Kwang-hyun to treat her.

But the Empress rejects Kwang-hyun’s preparatory medication and acupuncture; she also refuses to undergo surgery because of the scars that will be left on her body. She only relents when she finds out that Kwang-hyun has not told anyone about the intimate reason that led to her sickness.

Meanwhile in Joseon …

Myung-hwan and the medical entourage arrive triumphantly (not knowing that the Empress had not been cured by Myung-hwan).

Dusik informs Eun-soo that he couldn’t find Kwang-hyun in Qing.

Jinyung, with Kibae and Jabong, continues her secret trade in medicinal herbs. She also sets up her own private clinic to treat patients rejected by the royal pharmacy. Joining her are Inju and Dr. Shin who have resigned from their posts.

Episode 34

In Episode 33, Kwang-hyun successfully operates on the Empress. With her help, he returns to Joseon.
Dr. Saam and Kayong arrive in Joseon looking for Kwang-yun and expecting him to be now wealthy and restored by the King. But Kwang-hyun hasn’t revealed himself to Jinyung or to anyone else. He secretly treats patients who are turned away from the royal pharmacy.

Meanwhile, Jinyung and Inju are overwhelmed by the big number of patients who come to her private clinic.

On Myung-hwan’s prodding, the King orders Dusik to stop the illegal trade in medicinal herbs. When Sungha finds out about it, he goes to warn Jinyung, but he gets wounded in the ensuing fight with Dusik’s men.

As the episode ends, Kwang-hyun gives a grim prognosis to a high government official.

Note (touching scenes:) Kwang-hyun goes to his former home and blows out the candle in the lantern that Kibae has been keeping lit since he disappeared three years ago.

Kwang-hyun goes to Jinyung’s private clinic and gazes longingly at her shadow on the wall.

Episode 35

In Episode 34, Kwang-hyun rescues a wounded and unconscious Sungha. He takes Sungha to a cave, treats him with whatever medicinal herbs he could find, and uses a strand of Sungha’s hair to close up his wound.

Princess Sukhwi will steal your heart: her funniest, cutest, and heartbreaking scenes

Be careful watching this drama because Princess Sukhwi will steal your heart!

Princess Sukhwi, played by Kim So-eun, steals this drama from all other characters. (You might remember Kim So-eun from the hit drama “Boys Over Flowers.”) I found myself waiting for Princess Sukhwi’s scenes in each episode and cheering for her to end up romantically with Kwang-hyun.

Episode 8: Princess Sukhwi, who has become infatuated with Kwang-hyun, storms to the Royal Treasury because she’s dissatisfied with the rolls of silk to be given to Kwang-hyun. She points out to the rolls of silk and says, “I want this, this, this ....“ She also visits him in the stables on the pretext that her cat is sick again.

Episode 10: Princess Sukhwi rushes to embrace Kwang-hyun as he returns to the palace.

Episode 10 (end) and Episode 11 (start): Princess Sukhwi kisses Kwang-hyun.

Episode 13: Princess Sukhwi tries to learn how to cook eggs.

Episode 14: Princess Sukhwi gives Kwang-hyun a special lucky charm to ensure that he passes the exam. (This is perhaps her funniest scene.)

Episode 16: Princess Sukhwi tries to get sick so she can have an excuse to see Kwang-hyun.

Episode 18: Princess Sukhwi, to her dismay, gets assigned for diagnosis to Daebang and the bully who locked Kwang-hyun inside the morgue. She takes revenge against the bully.

Episode 20: As the King is being examined in the presence of the Queen Mother and the Queen, Princess Sukhwi slides up close to Kwang-hyun.

Episode 21: Princess Sukhwi uses the lantern festival as an excuse to leave the palace. She wants to tell Kwang-hyun that she loves him.

Episode 24: Princess Sukhwi dreams about Kwang-yun being a noble and riding away from her. Her royal guard says that the lady with Kwang-hyun is probably Eun-so. She goes immediately to confront Eun-so.

Episode 27 heartbreaking scene: Princess Sukhwi finds out that Kwang-hyun and Jinyung are in love with each other.

Episode 28 heartbreaking scene: Princess Sukhwi says goodbye to Kwang-hyun.

Photography lessons from “The King’s Doctor”

Natural frame

“The King’s Doctor” and the full moon

In photography, we speak of shooting pictures using available light, ambient light, or existing light, which means not using any kind of flash. I don’t know how this drama’s cinematographers did it (CGI? elaborate studio set lighting?), but as you can see from the screen captures below, they managed to get some beautifully-shot scenes with the full moon. The shadows fall in the right directions, and no artificial light sources can be seen.


Selective or differential focusing

High angle shot / diagonal lines

Linear perspective

Rule of thirds

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